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MAIDEN POLE POSITION FOR VAN DER LINDE AS RAST DOMINATES DTM RACE 2 AT ZOLDER

The results once again confirmed the feeling that BMW have the advantage over one lap but Audi have the race pace.

Qualifying

Having just turned twenty years old and in his fourth DTM race, van der Linde would not have expected to be on pole for race 2 at Zolder.

In taking pole it also means BMW have a clean sweep in 2019 thus far.

The South African showed impressive speed during the opening round at Hockenheim, his progress in the opening race at Zolder was hindered by the safety car but pulled out all the stops including a trip over the gravel to claim pole.

His time was fractionally slower than that set by his team-mate Marco Wittmann  the day before, and was just 0.006 seconds faster than Audi’s René Rast.

With three and a half minutes remaining in the session it was red flagged to remove the stricken car of Paul di Resta.

Still in the early stage of their DTM project, Aston Martin are experiencing some teething problems with di Resta parking his R-Motorsport Aston Martin on the grass at Sterrewachtbocht with the issue proving terminal as the Scot was unable to take in the race.

The session resumed five minutes later but there was no changes to the top positions.

As a result, van der Linde claimed pole with Rast set to start alongside him.

Saturday’s race winner Eng qualified in third just ahead of Robin Frijns.

Timo GlockMike Rockenfeller, Wittmann, Jonathan AberdeinJamie Green and Joel Eriksson completed the top ten positions.

Loïc Duval and Nico Müller were eleventh and twelfth.

Jake Dennis was the best placed Aston Martin in thirteenth with WRT‘s Pietro Fittipaldi alongside.

Bruno Spengler could only manage fifteenth with Aston Martin Dani JuncadellaFerdinand Habsburg and di Resta completing the grid.

Race

Retirement on Saturday, victory on Sunday has been Rast’s modus operandi in the opening two rounds of 2019.

Unlike Hockenheim, where the German used a risky strategy to claim the victory his win on Sunday at Zolder was relatively straightforward.

Having sat behind pole-sitter van der Linde for the opening stage of the race but on Lap 11 made a decisive move into Turn 1 to take the lead – which he then retained after the round of pit-stops to comfortably take victory.

Just as the safety car played a part on Saturday it did once again on Sunday – although not to game-changing effect it did the day before.

Prompted by Wittmann tagging the rear of Frijns into Turn 1, causing the Dutchman to spin and end up beached on the grass. The Audi driver was already struggling with loss of power and doubtful he would have made the finish anyway.

The safety car period lasted five laps, with the race being extended by five minutes plus one lap to compensate.

Wittmann was give a drive through penalty for the incident.

At the restart, Rast held on to his lead making a minor error at the Villeneuve chicane in the process but pulled clear for his second victory of the season.

Coming off the back of his race winning performance the day before, Eng was second after a storming drive that included a stunning move on Frijns in the early stages and at the restart the BMW driver took advantage of the situation to slide past van der Linde to go second.

Green, tried a top stop strategy to coming through the pack on fresh rubber and a dramatic final few laps saw him seal his first podium finish since Race 1 of the Hockenheim finale in 2017.

It took until the final lap for Green to finally overhaul van der Linde for third at Turn 4 for the final podium place.

Rockenfeller attempted to dive down the inside, running across the grass in the process – although it was a failed bbid for third it was enough for the German to take fourth off of van der Linde.

Dennis was sixth to claim R-Motorsport Aston Martin’s best result to date; however it was not all good news for the team with di Resta not making the start after his qualifying issue and Habsburg and Juncadella were both forced to retire.

Spengler, Müller, Fittipaldi and Eriksson completed the top ten.

After his penalty for the incident with Frijns, Wittmann came home last of the classified runners in thirteenth behind Duval and Aberdein.

Glock retired was still classified after pulling into the pits on the penultimate lap with an unspecified problem.

Source: DTM